Stones have had various uses for thousands of years. Now, what was once used for producing structures and tools is today used for more luxury purposes. Stone has become popular for artwork, exterior and interior design and even jewellery. Its versatility stretches to diverse garden designs that take advantage of the variations of colour, shape and size that stone offers. Here we will offer some tips on turning stones into an eye-catching garden feature.
Preparing your garden
Rock gardens are particularly suitable for sloped ground as the stones can store heat across their surface area and continuously dissipate the warmth to plants nearby. Superficially, stones are eminently suitable for lying along patio or path edges.
To begin installing a rock feature into your garden, begin by removing approximately 30cm of soil, taking care to dispel any roots to prevent weeds coming through later. Mix the removed soil with crushed stone and also sand before refilling the area to a level of 25cm. To prevent waterlogging and add stability for heavier stones, add a top layer of gravel.
Generally, a visually impressive rock garden becomes as such by looking as though it has been generated purely by chance. To portray this effect, avoid working with different kinds of stone using only stones of the same type. Basalt, granite or sandstone are examples of stones suitable for plants that dislike lime. Conversely, limestone and travertine are examples of stone suitable for plants that work well with lime. Once you have figured what works best for you, embedding the stones comes next. Place their larger surfaces so they face downwards whilst also making them look as natural as possible. A tip for this is to position larger stones lower down the slope, lying on top of each other and sunk in between small stones. Fill in any hollow areas with a drainage layer of gravel or sand which will both prevent waterlogging and fix the stones in place. Apart from the essential bits, the process of creating a rock garden is generally down to your imagination with regards to arranging the layout.
To add to your rock feature, choosing plants that enjoy dry and sunny conditions are particularly suitable. Use low-growing plants to prevent the appearance of an overcrowded feature. Ask at your local garden centre about suitable plants and their requirements.
During the first year, watering the plants regularly is a necessity as they are yet to grow substantial roots. From the second year onwards, the plants require almost no water except during periods of hot weather. If your preparations have been thorough, you shouldn’t see many weeds appearing on your feature.